1st Edition

Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Participation in African-Inspired Traditions in the Americas

    402 Pages
    by Routledge

    402 Pages
    by Routledge

    What roles do queer and transgender people play in the African diasporic religions? Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Participation in African-Inspired Traditions in the Americas is a groundbreaking scholarly exploration of this long-neglected subject. It offers clear insight into the complex dynamics of gender and sexual orientation, humans and deities, and race and ethnicity, within these richly nuanced spiritual practices.

    Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions explores the ways in which gender complexity and same-sex intimacy are integral to the primary beliefs and practices of these faiths. It begins with a comprehensive overview of Vodou, Santeria, and other African-based religions. The second section includes extensive, revealing interviews with practitioners who offer insight into the intersection of their beliefs, their sexual orientation, and their gender identity. Finally, it provides a powerful analysis of the ways these traditions have inspired artists, musicians, and writers such as Audre Lorde, as well as informative interviews with the artists themselves.

    In Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions, you will discover:

    • how the presence of androgynous divinities affects both faith and practice in Vodou, Candomble, Santeria, and other Creole religions
    • how the phenomenon of possession or embodiment by a god or goddess may validate queer identity and nurture gender complexity
    • who practices the African-derived spiritual traditions, what they believe, and who their deities are
    • how these faiths have influenced the art and aesthetic traditions of the West
    This landmark book opens a fascinating new world of thought and belief. The authors provide rigorous documentation and faultless scholarly method as well as personal experience and the testimony of believers. Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions sheds new light on two widely different fields: LGBT studies and the theology of the African diaspora. A thorough bibliography points the way to further study, and an extensive photograph gallery provides a unique look at the believers and their practices. Every library with holdings in queer theory, African mythology, or sociology of religion should have this landmark volume.

    • Foreword
    • Acknowledgments
    • Introduction
    • Background
    • Overview of Book
    • A Note About Terms
    • Chapter 1. Sources
    • Creole Spiritual Traditions: A Bird’s-Eye View
    • Sexual and Gender Complexity in Yorùbáland?
    • Other Possible African Influences
    • Possible Indigenous Influences of the Western Hemisphere
    • Chapter 2. Divinities and Spirits
    • Lwa of Vodou
    • Orishás of Yorùbá-Diasporic Spiritual Traditions
    • Spirits of Brazil
    • Chapter 3. Children of the Spirits
    • Divine Horses
    • Masisi and Madivin
    • Bigotry in the Vodou Community
    • A Bridge of the Spirits
    • Adés, Ekedes, and Others
    • Practitioners of Lucumí/Santería and Related Religions
    • Drag Queens, Transgender Persons, Transsexuals
    • Prohibitions and Discrimination with Yorùbá-Diasporic and Allied Communities
    • Divination and Interpretation
    • Challenges and Transformations
    • Relationships and Ceremonies of Union
    • HIV/AIDS, Afro Ashé, and Odô Yá
    • Notions of Self in African-Inspired Spiritual Traditions
    • Chapter 4. Snapshots
    • Practitioners of Vodou
    • Practitioners of Lucumí/Santería/Regla de Ocha, and Other Cuban- and Puerto Rican-Linked Traditions
    • Practitioners of Candomblé and Other Brazilian Traditions
    • Practioners of Orishá Reverence, the Ifá Tradition, and Bridge-Builders
    • Chapter 5. To Make the Spirit Manifest
    • Literature
    • Music
    • Visual Arts
    • Conclusion
    • Appendix A. Questionnaire
    • Appendix B. Interviews and Correspondence
    • Glossary
    • Bibliography
    • Index
    • Reference Notes Included


    David Sparks, Randy P Lundschien Conner